Yes, I know, I talked about app addiction and app overload before but this, I think, is probably something that is even starting to effect normal people. I am drowning in Apps, and they are killing my musical output.
Thing is, I have been doing ios music since January 2012, and it is now September 2015, and even if I had only been buying an app or two a month, and picking up freebies and bargains as and when they come on sale (which is what I did for the first couple of years before the sickness took hold), and winning free apps in competitions and giveaways, I would have a lot of apps by now. But like many people I buy the new shiny apps when they come out (I am a sucker for an introductory price) and I have… well.. all the apps now. I collect sets. If I have all the apps by Developer X and they bring out a new one I am likely to get it because it completes the set and because I want to support devs whose work I like.
Whatever the details the fact is that after three and a half years of iOS music I have accumulated enough apps that, were I to install them all, I might run out of space on my 128gb ipad.
It isn’t just apps either, thanks to a couple of well timed sales and occasional windfalls of cash (from me selling off stuff I didn’t want) I have also acquired a fair amount of desktop software too. Maschine2, Reaktor, Z3ta, Spark2, Reason 8. I have acquired a fairly serious suite of software.
Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows that every few months I do a cull of all the lesser used apps on my iPad, usually with a fairly brutal commentary, but I always reinstall them again because there was ‘that thing I liked’, or the new update looks interesting, or I am trying to convince myself that the $20 I spend 3 years ago on AppX wasn’t a total waste of money (it was though). So instead of actually dumping all these apps I put them in folders labelled things like “Other Synths” and “More Drums” where they hang about largely ignored.
There many of these Apps I have genuinely loved and formed the backbone of previous albums that have simply been superseded by newer shinier apps, those are the hardest to get rid of. Bleepbox is a great example, that is such an awesome beatbox that I eventually had to put an embargo on me using it because it was in everything I did…but now the programming interface seems too fiddly for me to bother with, or Stochastik with whom I have had a torrid and tempestuous affair, it has been the mainstay of the PantsofDeath sound since the very beginning, with a few lengthy outages when an iOS upgrade killed it dead and the poor Dev had to try and fix it, but now Patterning allows me the same probability based programming with so much more functionality.
What really derails my creative endeavors though is the sense of guilt I feel over all the apps I think could be awesome if I could just somehow get with their workflow. These suck up hours of noodling time but with very little to show for it. TNR-e is a great example, many people love that Tenorion workflow, but I cannot use it – I have noodled away for hours on that app and never managed to do anything worthwhile, but rather than accept that it’s just not for me I see it as a failing in myself and keep on trying.
iMachine is another – I have a Maschine, I love (LOVE) the Machine 2 sounds, and SO want to incorporate iMaschine into my workflow, but there is something about the quantization in the app that I cannot work with. Other similar apps (iMPC Pro for instance) I have no problem with… and even if I did I could correct the events in the Midi roll… but iMaschine, every thing I play on it quantizes into a hideous mess. I bought loads of expansion packs and so I keep trying to justify my outlay… but it will not work for me.
And then there are the FX… so many FX…
What I should do.. SHOULD DO… is pick 4 synths that I get on with, a couple of drum apps I like using, a small collection of effects.. and ditch the rest. But they are all so shiny and beautiful, and maybe one day I will get them to work.